- Comcast, Disney ink 10-year carriage deal for TV, Web
- Jillian Michaels doesn't rule out returning to 'Loser'
- 'Martha Stewart Show' ending after this season
Posted: 04 Jan 2012 06:04 PM PST
REUTERS - Comcast Corp, the largest U.S. cable operator, and Walt Disney Co on Wednesday said they had reached a comprehensive 10-year programming carriage deal for TV, Web and mobile devices.
The agreement covers Disney's various networks including ABC and ESPN, and will allow Comcast's Xfinity TV customers to watch those networks live or on-demand on multiple devices both in and outside of their homes.
It gives a big boost to the cable TV industry's push for programmers and distributors to reach agreements that will enable paying subscribers to watch their favorite shows whenever they choose, and possibly wherever they are in the continental United States.
This push is an attempt by the traditional cable business to make its services more attractive to subscribers who may cut the cord and flee to more flexible and cheaper new video services from companies like Netflix Inc, Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc among others.
However, cable and satellite TV distributors have pushed back in programming fee negotiations over whether they should pay significantly more so their subscribers can watch the shows online or on other devices outside the home.
"There is incentive for the content companies and cable operators to be in all the screens," said Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce. "And ESPN in particular has the content that lends itself to multiple screens quite well - as well as monetizing it through various forms of advertising."
Also included in the Comcast/Disney deal is a broadcast retransmission agreement for ABC's seven broadcast stations and Comcast will launch Disney Junior - a new 24-hour basic channel for preschool-age children. Comcast will also provide its Xfinity customers with access to live Disney networks. In all, the agreement covers more than 70 services.
Comcast, which took control of NBC Universal a year ago, has more than 22.5 million subscribers. It has avoided many of the worst programming fee disputes which other cable operators have faced as they battle against rising programming fees. Analysts said being the largest U.S. distributor puts it in a powerful negotiating position with programmers probably avoiding conflicts and annual threats of blackouts.
Time Warner Cable Inc, the second largest cable operator, reached a programming deal with Disney in September, 2010 that also included some digital rights for some networks and the launch of Disney Junior, but was not as comprehensive as this latest Comcast deal.
Comcast and Disney did not disclose financial terms of the agreement.
Analysts speculated it is likely Comcast would pay more for the programming given the additional digital rights.
"Now that they're able to get these digital deals done I expect they will want to get as many digital rights as possible, the question is how much will it cost them," said Thomas Eagan, an analyst at Collins Stewart.
"I think you're going to see higher costs for other distributors like DirecTV as they all push for digital rights," he added.
Shares of Comcast ended up 1 percent at $24.73 on Nasdaq, while shares of Disney rose 1.4 percent to $38.85 on the New York Stock Exchange.Full content generated by Get Full RSS.
Posted: 04 Jan 2012 04:49 PM PST
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With health and fitness guru Jillian Michaels leaving her gig on ''The Doctors,'' might she return to ''The Biggest Loser'' for a third run?
Don't rule it out.
''We never say never,'' Michaels' representative, Ashley Sandberg, told TheWrap on Wednesday.
Michaels appeared on the NBC weight-loss competition from 2004-06 and then again from 2007-2011. Her successor, Anna Kournikova, lasted just one season, so there's an opening.
And the show might benefit from Michaels' star power: It returned Tuesday night to ratings that were down 30 percent from last January's season 11 premiere. That season was the last to feature Michaels.
A rep for ''The Biggest Loser'' declined to comment.
Michaels said in a statement Wednesday that she was leaving the syndicated health show ''The Doctors'' this month and that it ''wasn't the fit both the show and I hoped for.''
''I have enjoyed my time on the show and the opportunity it provided me in my mission to help others improve their lives. ... It was a great experience and I wish the show nothing but success.''
A rep for ''The Doctors'' issued this statement to TheWrap: ''Jillian has contributed greatly to our show this season, and we value her talent and insight as she has inspired countless people to improve their lives. Although it wasn't the fit we both hoped for, our original four doctors will continue to provide our audience with the gold standard medical content we've delivered since our show's inception. Jillian will always be a part of 'The Doctors' family.''
Michaels' ''Doctors'' departure was first reported by the New York Post.
The Post reports Michaels could return to ''The Doctors'' for occasional guest appearances. Michaels' rep says she is ''focusing on all of the exciting projects she has lined up for 2012 and beyond.''
Michaels is releasing a kickboxing-themed DVD, ''Kickbox Fastfix,'' in March, and will continue to make appearances as a fitness expert on ''Dr. Phil.''Full content generated by Get Full RSS.
Posted: 04 Jan 2012 04:45 PM PST
NEW YORK (Reuters) - ''The Martha Stewart'' show will not return to The Hallmark Channel after this season, but the network hopes to continue to work with Stewart on other programming, TheWrap has confirmed.
Stewart's show will stop taping live episodes in the spring, and will air reruns in the summer. Then it will end, and Stewart and the network will look to work together in other ways, a person familiar with the situation told TheWrap.
The official word of the show's ending was as gracious and gentle as, well, a Hallmark card:
''The daytime block on Hallmark Channel demonstrated year over year ratings growth and earned 'The Martha Stewart Show' two Daytime Emmy Awards in its first season on Hallmark,'' Hallmark and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said in a statement. ''That show will continue to air through the end of summer 2012. MSLO and Hallmark Channel are in discussions about potential new show formats and concepts for daytime.''
The key language is that the show will ''continue to air through the end of summer 2012.'' After that, the person familiar with the situation confirmed to TheWrap, the show will end.
The show, which was syndicated before it joined Hallmark, has aired for seven seasons and is folding due to falling ratings. But it represented a major comeback for Stewart after she served five months in prison after she was convicted of lying to investigators about a 2001 sale of Imclone shares.
She rejoined the board of MSLO last May, after a five-year-period in which she was barred from being a director or officer in a public company under the terms of a settlement of the charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The New York Post first reported the show was ending in a story Wednesday morning. The Post also reported that Home Depot will no longer sell Martha Stewart Living-branded paints but will allow customers to mix her color palette into Glidden-branded paints.
MSLO president Lisa Gersh took issue with the story in an internal company email obtained by TheWrap. It uses some of the same language as the official statement on the show's end, and is printed below in its entirety.
Today's New York Post business section had an inaccurate and negative portrayal of some of MSLO's businesses, including its television production relationship with Hallmark and its paint business with The Home Depot. Unfortunately, the reporter, whose story cited unnamed 'sources,' stopped far short of including all the facts that MSLO presented to her and leaves readers with several incorrect impressions.
In fact, MSLO has never had a more vibrant, more diversified umbrella of strong, popular brands and loyal, enthusiastic audiences across TV, digital, print and radio, as well as across numerous product lines available through top retail partners.
The Martha Stewart brand has been a successful TV presence for nearly two decades and we expect that to continue.
The daytime block on Hallmark demonstrated year-over-year ratings growth and 'The Martha Stewart Show' earned two Emmys in its first season. The show will continue on Hallmark through the end of this season and we are currently exploring programming concepts for Martha Stewart and other MSLO brands beyond this fall. In addition, MSLO continues its thriving partnership with The Home Depot (THD), which spans a number of home and decor categories, including our very popular paint palette, and they continue to perform well.
As just a reminder of the power of our audiences and brands, a recent study conducted in August last year by Public Strategies indicated that Martha Stewart remains a strong brand with incredible awareness. Unaided, meaning without being prompted, 53% of women name Martha Stewart as the first person who comes to mind for providing lifestyle ideas and information on the home. The next-closest competitor is mentioned by only 6% of women, and that's Rachael Ray.
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